SCL Weekly Wellbeing: Happiness vs Fulfilment

May 28, 2020

Happiness vs Fulfilment
One of the greatest truths we could ever share with you is when we take care of our inner world, the outer world appears to take care of itself. It may sound a bit bizarre, but we often believe it to be the other way round, and in order to feel happy and content, we need to arrange our circumstantial reality to fit a certain ideology.

Have you ever found yourself saying “when I get… <blank> … then I will be happy”? The perfect relationship, the big house, the fancy car, the next holiday, a change in physical appearance or simply to be acting a certain way? Who actually made that rule? Have you ever really contemplated that and questioned where it comes from? Perhaps from films, TV, marketing or even an example set by our parents/care-givers. Is this actually working out for you? Are you exhausted yet?

Playing the “happy when game” is something that resonates with the both of us (Gary/Nick) and what broke our former selves. When you’re constantly striving for a high achiever/performance mentality, forced by behavioural patterns in order to evade an image of being weak, inferior or inadequate, the only option is to push harder and harder, with a militant mindset which eventually will trigger a burnout, illness or worse. It’s through seeking this desire to qualify for being good enough, worthy of love and appreciation that sees these patterns emerge time and time again.

If only we allowed ourselves to be happy instead of working towards it, perhaps life would be a bit easier.

Once we achieve goals, the happiness soon fades. All too often, we’ll set ourselves a higher, harder to achieve goal. This cycle is what often breaks athletes as they win races, break world records and eventually run out of goals that defined who they were. The belief we hold is that the transient happiness that appeared momentarily from reaching our last goal could become permanent if a bigger, and better goal was achieved. Your happiness always lies in the future, which instantly takes you from the present moment. We invalidate the “now” all too often, yet the present is the moment that only truly exists.

You place yourself on a hamster wheel to nowhere. We become hooked on what almost works, but it never quite does. The transitory relief never lasts. Is it actually the goal that brings you joy, or the feeling of relief that you no longer have to chase after your goal? Please consider this carefully.

The recipe for happiness we are sold contains a very basic flaw. The feeling just comes and goes. We invite you to aim for fulfilment as a goal, a state that can be achieved far more easily. Unlike happiness, we can always feel fulfilled. Even at places like a funeral, wouldn’t it be great to feel fulfilled in the knowledge you spent incredible times with the person, and left no conversations unspoken?

There is a subtle difference between happiness and fulfilment. If you really get it, it can shift your entire engagement with life. We will explore techniques in future SCL Weekly Wellbeing articles, but for now it’s a powerful topic to contemplate.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I happy playing the “happy when” game?
  • What rules have you placed on your life that dictate what has to happen first before you allow a feeling?
  • Do you even fully know what rules you have in place?
  • When you achieved previous goals, did the feeling last? Was it one of relief?

We always welcome feedback on these posts and would love to engage more with the SCL community, so please do reach out to us on LinkedIn – the time is always there.

Also see:

SCL Weekly Wellbeing is created by Nick Watson and Gary Waters. #SCLweeklywellbeing

Unlike most Legal Technology entrepreneurs, Nick Watson comes from a development background with a history of developing large, bespoke projects for a variety of industries including the Law. Launching in April 2016, Nick co-founded Ruby Datum, a user experience-driven, pioneering Virtual Data Room company. He also has a passion for wellbeing and is working towards a vision of a more mindful legal industry.

Gary Waters is a respected coach and entrepreneur. Gary’s background includes building a #1 ranking hospitality business in one of the UK’s most competitive tourism markets in the South West of England. Gary decided to sell that business so that he could channel all his energy and focus into his passion, which is helping people through coaching. Gary specialises in helping clients develop an Empowered Mindset, which enables them to navigate life’s challenges on their own terms. He’s passionate about helping people create a life of purpose and fulfilment through Personal Coaching, Business Coaching and Consulting programmes.

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